Winter was all about warm drinks, comfort by the fire and festive spices. Don’t get me wrong, I love the festivity, but I’m definitely ready to freshen up my drinks cabinet for Spring. We’ve put together a few refreshing alcohol-free ideas for you. I’m really excited about delving into some of the more bitter products available, I genuinely feel that we’ve achieved some really mature pours here, and I hope you’ll enjoy them.
This is a take on a Negroni, but using prosecco instead of gin (alcohol-free of course). It is rich and bitter and is designed for sipping. Negroni is traditionally served before dinner as an aperitif, it’s said to enhance the appetite.
Note: I used cheap options from Sainsbury’s for the prosecco and the red wine, and it still tasted great. You can splash out more if you want to.
50ml The Bitter Note
50ml alcohol-free red wine
125ml alcohol-free prosecco
Take a heavy bottomed tumbler and fill with ice, or use a ball of ice if you have one of those fancy ice sphere makers. Combine your Bitter Note and red wine and stir for a few seconds. Slowly add your prosecco, keeping the bubbles under control. Stir gently to combine. Take an orange and carefully make a long peel from the skin. Holding this close to the liquid, give it a twist. Finally, rub the orange peel around the rim of the glass, and then drop it in to garnish. It could not be simpler, and it makes for a real grown-up welcome drink when you’re hosting guests.
You can get Bitter Note in the UK from Wise Bartender.
Nothing celebrates the longer evenings better than a spritz. Light and refreshing with a delightful pop of colour, it’s one of my favourite indulgent treats. I made one of these for a friend who recently had a baby and she was so excited to have something that felt a bit special.
100ml Spritz Syrup (made by 3/4 oz)
150ml Scavi & Ray (or another alcohol-free fizz, but this one is my favourite for the job)
Soda water to top
Another easy one, but so effective. The Spritz Syrup gives a wonderful bitter marmalade kick, with just the right amount of acidity. Take a large wine glass and fill with ice. Add your spritz syrup followed by your Scavi & Ray, go steady to avoid overflowing bubbles. Top with a little soda, and stir gently to combine. Garnish with a generous wedge of orange and voila! The perfect pour for a little afternoon indulgence.
A little warning, this one is pretty sugary.
Rhubarb season is a tricky one, unfortunately, by the time I got round to making rhubarb syrup I couldn’t get my hands on any of the pretty forced pink stuff, and my syrup looked a bit murky! So I used a cordial instead because I wanted that lovely pink hue to the drink. If you want to make rhubarb syrup simply combine equal parts chopped rhubarb, water, and sugar. Poach this mixture on a very gentle heat for around ten minutes. Remove the rhubarb and reduce the remaining liquid until you have a syrupy consistency. And don’t forget to use the rhubarb, maybe as a nice breakfast compote, or in a crumble.
50ml Rhubarb cordial
One lime, quartered
2 tsp sugar or stevia
14 Mint leaves
Take a tall glass and combine your lime, mint leaves and sugar. If you have one, use a muddler to squeeze the juice from the limes and crush the mint, the end of a rolling pin would also work. Basically, mush it all together until there is plenty of lime juice and you can smell the mint. Now, add your Rhubarb cordial (or syrup) and your Caribbean syrup. Stir to combine. Fill the glass with ice and top with soda water. Use a long spoon to gently lift your muddled lime and mint to disperse it through the cocktail, you can place your hand over the top of the glass to avoid any spillages or ice escapees! Finally, garnish with your sprig of mint.
I wanted to include some of my favourite seasonal veg and was inspired by a salad I made recently. It was from a cookbook called ‘A Modern Way To Cook’ by Anna Jones, and it is jam-packed with green goodness. This smoothie is inspired by that, and I’ve really enjoyed drinking this in the morning or after a workout. Any excuse to make the most of asparagus season!
Half a green chilli, deseeded
Half a ripe avocado
Juice of half a lemon
A good handful of coriander
A good handful of basil
2-3 asparagus spears
1 tsp soy sauce
200ml coconut water
a teaspoon of sesame seeds
A small pinch of regular and black sesame seeds
Yes, it sounds very savoury, but I promise the coconut and avocado soften things and bring a little sweetness. It’s a joy to drink, and so easy to make. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and there you have it, all your veg for the day in one nifty little glass!
Some brands featured in this article are members of Club Soda, and we work a little more closely with these. You’ll always find a couple of them in our reviews, but we remain completely impartial.